The first kings of the Achaemenid Persian empire, Cyrus the Great and Darius, sought to devise for their capital cities new styles in monumental architecture and sculpture to express their imperial status and mastery of the known world. With no local tradition to guide designers, a homogeneous style was created from the example of the many new subjects--Ionian Greeks, Lydians, Mesopotamians, and Egyptians. This book traces these sources and explores the way that traditional Achaemenid motifs, if not styles, also permeated the empire. The Achaemenid Persian experiment was unique in antiquity, and it was successful for as long as the empire lasted. Even after Alexander the Great brought about its downfall, it continued to influence the arts from Greece to India. This is a record of the brilliant flowering of an artificial yet unified construct, unmatched in the art of the Old World.